One of the preferred tropes on sports-talk radio and all those ESPN talking heads shows is to play the old “Did Team X Win or Did Team Y Lose?” whenever games like this go down. Most of the time, it’s uncalled for and unfair to the squad that actually won the game because most of the time, they went out and won the game.
This time though, it kind of fits because while Toronto literally won the game, the Boston Red Sox handed them this victory on a silver platter and for the most part, all the Blue Jays had to do was not swing their bats.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the Top of the 8th, the Red Sox brought in setup man Koji Uehara as the presumed bridge to lights out closer Craig Kimbrell, but the Japanese veteran could hit the plate. Here’s how his inning went:
RBI Ground Out.
Hit By Pitch.
Kimbrell replaced him, struck out Edwin Encarnacion to get the second out of the inning, but then he dropped into the Uehara Zone, walking Troy Tulowitzki with the bases loaded before giving up a two-run single to Russell Martin before striking out Ryan Goins to get out of the inning.
Yes, the Toronto hitters were patient and Martin got the knock that was needed, but Boston’s usually solid one-two punch wasn’t exactly electric on Monday morning, so maybe don’t praise the boys too much for pulling this out.
And it’s not like the Jays just cruised from there.
Brett Cecil replaced starter J.A. Happ after the lefty gave up a leadoff double to start the 8th and set the next three batters down without issue, but then Drew Storen made things interesting in the Bottom of the 9th, giving up a double to deep left center and a single up the middle to make this a 4-3 game before getting David Ortiz to strike out to end things.
Ultimately, Toronto gets a split in this four-game series and levels their record at 7-7 through the first 14 games of the season, both of which are good things. Let’s leave it at that.
Player of the Game: J.A. Happ
Remember when everyone was all “Man, why did they bring this guy back? He sucks!” when the Jays announced the signing of J.A. Happ in the summer? Yeah, those people sure hope you don’t because the man on his second tour of duty in Toronto picked up the win with a seven-inning, four-hit, four-strikeout gem on Monday in Boston.
On the season, the 33-year-old Northwestern alum is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP, looking like the kind of strong, steady middle of the rotation pitcher every team wished they had. Roll this guy out there every fifth game and you’re getting a quality start more often than not, which is aces if you’re the Blue Jays.
On Deck: There is no rest for the wicked as Toronto jumped on a plane (or maybe a bus, but definitely not the train) and headed to Baltimore, where they’ll kick off a three-game set with the Orioles tonight. Marcus Stroman goes head-to-head with Mike Wright in the opener.